ATLANTA - The Atlanta Dream are off to a nightmarish start as the WNBA expansion franchise is one setback away from its league-record 14th consecutive loss.
Betty Lennox sat in front of her locker Sunday with a befuddled look once again, this time following Atlanta's 13th straight loss, a 97-76 pounding against the Detroit Shock. Lennox tried to conjure up a reason for the Dream's string of losses.
'At this point, I'm very frustrated,' Lennox said.'I wish I had some answers. But we have to win.'
If they don't win Friday against first-place Connecticut, the Dream - tied with Detroit and Chicago for the most losses in a row - will own the record.
'Man, it's going to be tough,' said guard Ivory Latta. 'It's got to be all about focus against Connecticut, because they're a great team. We just have to find a way to put everything together - somehow.'
The Shock lost 13 consecutive games in 2002 - then won the 2003 championship - and the Sky also lost 13 in a row as an expansion franchise in 2006.
While many wondered if Atlanta was ready to embrace another pro basketball team, the question now is whether they'll win a game.
'It's difficult to break out,' said Shock coach Bill Laimbeer. 'The pressure is on for them. It takes times to see what types of players you have.'
'I'm going to lose this year, OK?' said general manager and coach Marynell Meadors, one of the league's eight original coaches. 'We know the chances of us having a great year are not good.'
Atlanta has the worst point differential in the WNBA, scoring just 70.9 point a game. They're allowing 84.5 points per game - second-most in the league.
'There's no continuity going on,' Meadors said. 'I need better production by post players. I don't know which post player is going to show up.'
A frustrated Meadors traded 6-foot-2 forward Camille Little to the Seattle Storm Monday for a second-round pick in the 2009 draft. Little averaged 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 12 games.
President Bill Bolen said owner J. Ronald Terwilliger still has a positive mindset about the Dream becoming a winning franchise in the future. Terwilliger bought the team with expectations of making the playoffs by its fourth season.
'We're all frustrated about not getting the first win yet,' Bolen said. 'But I really feel good about the development on the court. We don't have many veterans but our young players have stepped up tremendously.'
Latta had a breakout game against Detroit, scoring a career-high 26 points and had 10 assists. Rookie Tamera Young does much of the dirty work for the Dream, averaging 10 rebounds in her last four games.
Lennox, sixth in the league with 17.8 points per game, has scored 20-plus points on six occasions. But she disappears at times, finishing with just five points on 2-for-6 shooting on Sunday.
Despite its losing ways, the city of Atlanta is still showing its support. There has been two sellouts this season and almost 8,000 were in attendance Sunday for the Detroit game.